After two horrible losses, the Buccaneers have a chance to turn it around against the Saints.
Despite being one of the better teams in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have looked like one of the worst when playing against the New Orleans Saints this season. The past few seasons have been challenging from a division standpoint, but the two horrible losses so far this season have come as a surprise.
The Bucs swept the Falcons and the Panthers with relative ease, a difficult task regardless of the opponent, but the Saints were a different story. The Buccaneers haven’t been able to put together a complete game against the Saints all season, and now the pressure is on in a new way.
If Tampa Bay wants to advance to the next round of the playoffs, they need to learn how to beat the Saints. The past few weeks have shown significant improvements on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bucs need to bring their A-game to survive and advance. The subsequent decisions would make the Saints far easier for the Buccaneers to defeat.
Decision #1-No more zone coverage for the Buccaneers
This is on Todd Bowles and Todd Bowles alone. The Buccaneers have been picked apart by many quarterbacks that are far below Drew Brees on the totem pole while sitting in zone, and now is the time to commit to the change.
The Buccaneer defense is at its best in man coverage. Carlton Davis is one of the best man corners in the NFL, and Jamel Dean has the physicality to dominate in this setting.
Wide receivers should have almost no space at the line of scrimmage. The Buccaneer corners need to be as close as possible at the snap, and establishing that physicality early can disrupt Brees’ motion.
When the Buccaneers dropped into zone coverage in the past, Brees looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. While this is undoubtedly the case from an all-time standpoint, Brees has been a lackluster passer in recent weeks, especially when teams don’t let him pick apart their zones for four quarters.
The Bucs need to understand where their strengths are and play to them from the start. The defensive line can keep the run game mostly under wraps, even if Alvin Kamara is on it on Sunday, but letting Drew Brees light up the secondary is a recipe for a quick loss.